Weight Loss, Psychiatry… Weight Loss Psychiatry?

By: Katie Brandon


Did you know popular medications used for weight loss are routinely used in psychiatry? For instance, Contrave, a blend of Bupropion (Wellbutrin) / Naltrexone, can be prescribed for weight loss. Wellbutrin is an antidepressant and Naltrexone is used to help treat alcoholism – both medications are “bread and butter” psychiatric medications. Together, this combination can help you lose approximately 5% or your body weight (~12 lbs) by working on hunger centers in the brain to decrease appetite.

Topiramate can be used off-label to treat bipolar disorder in psychiatry. Phentermine (Adipex, Lomaira) is a stimulant medication similar to Adderall but works as a more powerful appetite suppressant in addition to increasing focus and motivation. Phentermine and Topiramate combined is a powerhouse medicine that can help you lose approximately 11% your body weight.

5-HTP, a naturally occurring amino acid, is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and the hormone melatonin – both essential for optimal mental health and sleep. 5-HTP in combination with Carbidopa, a medication for Parkinson’s, has shown good results treating obesity. Lastly, treatments for binge eating disorder are primarily antidepressants, Vyvanse, and behavioral therapy – mental health is the priority when treating binge eating. When you really think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

Treatment of overweight, obesity, and binge eating overlaps more than you would think with psychiatric medications. Before my training in Obesity Medicine, I routinely treated my psychiatric patients with these medications and did not realize their potential for weight loss! As a healthcare provider with a background in Psychiatry, Addiction, Obesity, and Family Medicine – I see the value in mental wellbeing and how it can promote and sustain weight loss. My extensive knowledge with these medications allows me to see all possible benefits for my patients and gives me the opportunity to “custom-fit” their medications for weight loss. Furthermore, it could be said with the mainstay of weight loss medications being psychotropic, the idea that weight loss starts between the ears is a good thing to remember.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.